Thurston County’s summer burn ban went into effect Saturday prohibiting all residential yard-waste burning and land clearing burns in an effort to combat the heightened risk of wildfires in hot, dry weather.
Recreational fires on private residential properties are still allowed in unincorporated Thurston County. Outdoor burning is permanently banned in the cities of Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater, and in Olympia’s and Tumwater’s urban growth areas. Barbecues that are not wood-burning are permitted in all areas.
State law defines recreational fires as “cooking fires, campfires, and bonfires using charcoal or firewood that occur in designated areas or on private property for cooking, pleasure, or ceremonial purposes.”
Recreational fires can be burned in approved pits within state, county, municipal and other campgrounds. Campers should always check with campground hosts before burning because individual campgrounds might ban campfires.
Mason and Pierce counties also are included in the burn ban going into effect Saturday, and a similar ban has taken effect in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties.
All debris burning on Department of Natural Resources-protected lands in Thurston County will be prohibited starting Saturday, according to a DNR press release. When the DNR burn ban is not in effect, debris burning on DNR-protected lands is still strictly limited.
DNR-protected land in Thurston County includes Capitol State Forest, the Mima Mounds Natural Area Reserve, and the Woodard Bay Conservation Area.
The DNR burn ban also applies to DNR-protected lands in Mason, Pierce, King, Clark, Cowlitz, Kitsap, and Skamania counties.
Thurston County, like most of Western Washington, has a moderate fire danger rating, indicating that “fires can start from most accidental causes, but the number of fire starts is usually pretty low,” according to the U.S. Forest Service.
The state Department of Ecology encourages composting and chipping as an alternative to burning to get rid of household yard waste. Contact a local facility to determine whether its accepts specific yard waste:
▪ Silver Springs Organics, Tenino, 360-446-0197
▪ City of Olympia (Maintenance Center), 360-753-8377
▪ Thurston County Waste & Recovery Center, Lacey, 360-786-5494